Written by Katie Pezzutto

Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up, functioned just like many places we know today. Most people in Nazareth were not rich. Many worked in masonry or woodwork. Archaeologists tell us the sewer system wasn’t well developed, so probably the air wasn’t as fresh as everyone would like.

Outsiders had a prejudiced view of people from Nazareth. The rugged Galilean accent shared by Nazareth and the surrounding region distinguished them from everyone else in Palestine, further lending to the Palestinians’ view that Galileans were “others.”

We see this prejudice against Galileans in Scripture when Nathanael says to Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46, ESV). Not only did Jesus grow up in squalid conditions, but His family’s reputation was also far from pristine. His mother and father would have been seen as fornicators. Perhaps this led to Jesus and His siblings being bullied or viewed differently. 

Growing up as Jesus of Nazareth would not have been easy. But that was the point. God didn’t plan on it being easy. Jesus came to one of the messiest places on earth at that time in history so He could relate to us. He placed Himself in the grittiness of human suffering.

He experienced rejection, pain, weariness, and hunger with us and for us.

How often do we trust God to provide us with what we need? How often do we help others in their suffering? 

It’s easy to avoid getting involved in other people’s messes. But we’re called to live how Jesus lived. That means we can just be there with people in their mess. Even more than that, we can call on Jesus for help and inspiration when it comes to supporting people in unfortunate circumstances. 

In prayer

  • Ask Jesus to reveal to you facets of His personhood and humanity. Ask Him to speak to you in a way that awakens your imagination.
  • Have you been holding bitterness towards God for “poverty” in your life? Ask Him for revelation in this area.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, ESV).